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US Energy Dept Report + Presentations Move PHEV Plans Forward
Jun 26, 2007 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This posting originally appeared at CalCars-News, our newsletter of breaking CalCars and plug-in hybrid news. View the original posting here.
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In May 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy held its first PHEV Stakeholders Workshop. (We reported on it and pointed to the presentations at­calcars-news/­431.html. The Year Two version was held in Washington June 13 (we couldn't attend).

A little further down, we include links to the key presentations at the event.

A starting point for this year's workshop was a document that began as a report on the Year One event, and evolved into the just-released DOE Freedom Car and Vehicle Technologies Program PHEV R&D Plan Working Draft (2.4MB)­vehiclesandfuels/­features/­phev_plan.html Its 50 pages outline the range of research and evaluation programs going on in the federal government's national labs. It incorporates responses to several dozen comments received after previous drafts were distributed.

With the pace of new developments, we haven't had a chance to review it in depth. In general, as with other DOE reports, we hope that the extended timelines discussed will be eclipsed by more rapid developments in the marketplace. We do want to point out a few significant points:

  • Section 3 "Energy Storage," page 23: Despite the uncertainty in vehicle design, near- and long-term commercialization goals have been drafted for PHEV energy storage systems in collaboration with the USABC. A mid-size SUV with 10 miles electric range is the assumed application for the near-term (2012), resulting in requirements of 5.6 kWh and 45 kW peak power. The long-term battery goal (2016) targets 40 miles electric range in a mid-size passenger car.

This matches up to the expected low electric range anticipated for GM's Saturn VUE PHEV. But it's very difficult to reconcile this statement, attributed to the US Advanced Battery Consortium (which is sponsored by Detroit's three automakers), which GM's insistence that the Volt have a 40-mile range.

  • Section 7, "Deployment," page 45, puts a "stamp of approval" on many of the approaches PHEV advocates have proposed: V2G, secondary use of batteries; manufacturere and purchase incentives and demonstration fleets. Here are three key paragraphs:
  • 7.2 Automotive-Utility Industry Interactions The relationship between the auto and utility industries could be enhanced with the development and introduction of PHEVs. Not since the push for electric vehicle production in the early 90s (and the flurry of battery charger development) has the need arisen for collaboration on their products. PHEVs could lead to a long-lived, beneficial dependency if the V2G scenario matures - this would entail 'sharing' the daily use of batteries. And some in the utility industry have suggested a secondary use for vehicle batteries as spinning reserves when their usefulness as traction batteries has diminished. This is likely a more cost-effective, efficient and environmentally sound approach to battery life cycle management than immediate scrapping and recycling. The potential synergy between the industries can be facilitated by DOE, but implementation lies within the private sector since it is not critical for PHEV technology development.

    7.3 Incentives Incentives for both the supply and demand sides of PHEVs have been discussed, including tax credits, direct subsidies and preferential electric rates for customers as well as regulatory considerations, subsidies or loan guarantees for manufacturers and utilities. Purchase incentives are beyond the scope of FCVT, but the DOE loan guarantee authority could be utilized if it is sufficiently beneficial to achieving national objectives.

    7.4 Education and Demonstrations Some participants in the May 2006 PHEV Discussion Meeting, as well as some comments on the Draft PHEV R&D Plan, supported large scale demonstrations to educate consumers and develop the market. FCVT is exploring possibilities within its scope (and budget authority) and will involve the Clean Cities Program in activities related to public fleet demonstrations and education.

    The general URL for the FreedomCar Program is at­vehiclesandfuels/­http:/­/­­vehiclesandfuels/­

    At­phev.shtml you'll find links to the presentations at the U.S. DOE PHEV Stakeholder Workshop, June 13, 2007. We have not had a chance to review them and write a roundup report (any volunteers?). The Pratt report can be seen as an expansion of the Pacific National Lab's recent report on the capacity of the national grid to support plug-in vehicles; it also includes regional breakouts.

  • Edward Wall - FCVT Perspective (PDF 142kB)
  • Rogelio Sullivan - PHEV R&D Plan (PDF 244kB)
  • Aymeric Rousseau - Goal Setting& Simulation Results (PDF 888kB)
  • David Howell - Battery Research & Development (PDF 1.2MB)
  • Susan Rogers - Power Electronics & Electric Machines R&D (PDF 201kB)
  • Jim Francfort - Field Test Plans and Testing Results (PDF 153kB)
  • Don Hillebrand / Michael Duoba - Laboratory Testing & Analysis (PDF 302kB)
  • Rob Pratt - Potential Impacts of High Penetration of PHEVs on U.S. Power Grid (PDF 389kB)
  • Lee Slezak - PHEV Demonstration Plans (PDF 149kB)
  • Before the June meeting in Washington, at the May 7 Cascadia Conference, you can also see the Department of Energy's Rogelio Sullivan's report­scripts/­viewDB/­filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=1349

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